SOUTH African Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu has urged female African learners to emulate the continent’s beauty queens’ conduct and remain resolute in pursuing their dreams.
Ms Shabangu said this during Thursday’s mobile communications giant, Cell C’s Take a Girl Child to Work Day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa.
Lesotho was represented at the event by Miss Lesotho Sunday Express, Mpoi Mahao who was accompanied by Miss Lesotho High School, Reatile Molefe (Form C) and her first princess, Lebo Ramohapi (Form E) and their teacher, Moleboheng Ncholu.
Miss Botswana, Thata Kenosi and Miss Namibia, Lizelle Esterhuizen as well as the host Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters also graced the event along with more than 60 students from across South Africa as well as two each from Botswana and Namibia.
The event also coincided with Africa Day celebrations to commemorate the founding of the African Union (initially the Organisation of African Unity) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25 1963.
Launched in 2003, Cell C’s Take a Girl Child to Work Day is an opportunity for grades 10 to 12 (Form C to E) female learners from all walks of life to experience a day in the workplace.
For many, the day spent in shadowing top executives and entrepreneurs opens up a world of hope and dreams. It inspires girls to work hard to achieve what they want to attain in life and contributes towards making their dreams tangible.
Speaking at the event, Ms Shabangu said the “four beauty queens are our ambassadors whom we look up to for their contributions towards community development as they continue to flourish in their respective career fields”.
“They are all at different universities pursuing their careers. They also won their national titles because of the way they conduct themselves and they know the right time to be parents as achievement goes together with discipline.”
She warned the learners against early pregnancies, saying this was a serious setback as they would have to be excused from school and stay at home to take care of their children.
“Your parents may not have had the opportunities you have today but they are sacrificing a lot for you to have better futures than them. Appreciate the little they are doing and do not frustrate them by demanding fancy clothes as that is only a short term need whereas education is your lifetime inheritance.
“Life can be cruel as it is full of many challenges but you must remain focused on your goal. There is no person without a dream but then perseverance is the mother of success,” Ms Shabangu said.
She also commended Cell C for the initiative and urged the girls to work hard to be the best in their chosen careers in order to contribute to the continent’s development.
“Cell C has seen the importance of empowering young girls and committed itself for the past 15 years and today took a bigger step to bring other African countries to broaden this project.
“Africa Day is important in bringing Africans together to share ideas on how to improve the continent’s economy.
“Unlike back then, girls are now allowed to pursue their dreams, so as Africans let us work to towards improving lives, not only in our vicinity but the continent as a whole.”
She described Africa as a “beautiful and rich continent,” and called on the female learners to “Dream less about going to places like America but establish yourselves in Africa and ensure your footsteps are heard globally”.